When we chatted with LA cyber-rocker Davey Suicide last year, he was already riding waves of positive buzz ahead of his self-named band's EP Put Your Trust in Suicide, which was released in the fall (check out our review here) and helped catapult them from the industrial rock underground to reach a much wider audience. The band has recently caught the attention of major music media – including Alternative Press, who included them in their new “100 Bands You Need to Know” issue, marked by a special event at South By Southwest last weekend, with Davey in attendance.
Not only is he dedicated to his music career (he chose to re-invent himself after a brief solo project and found his niche with the new material), Davey also brings mad fashion skills, which incarnate his obsession with monsters from both fiction and reality through his own custom clothing line, Killers Never Die. Somewhere between that sideline and regular touring, Davey and his crew actually completed their first full-length studio album several months ago, with the official release date for that record ultimately pushed back to this week... and here we are. It turned out to be well worth the wait, and the buildup: the loud, proud and rowdy rebel yell of last year's single “Generation Fuck Star” was no freak occurrence, as I discovered when I gave this collection of high-octane tracks a spin.
Two songs from the EP return here, “Generation Fuck Star” and “Grab a Gun & Hide Your Morals,” both of which are strong, crowd-rallying songs with sharp hooks, mean electro-industrial grooves and dirty, '80s-style raunch rock riffs, all in support of sexed-up lyrics delivered by Davey with a snarly but robust vocal delivery that fuses elements of melodic metal and pop. “Generation Fuck Star” opens the album proper (after the creepy playground chant intro “Cross Your Heart”), but the following cut “Sick Suicide” has the same theme-song vibe, with a lighter, more hopeful feel. The Rob Zombie-inspired sleaze factor comes into play in “Hustler Queen,” which is one of the most infectious tracks on the record, and the electro-infused “Uncross Your Legs” is even more sexed-up, with a heavy bump-and-grind beat and deeper, breathier vocals.
The riffs go hard and heavy in “Unholywood Killafornia,” a back-handed tribute to the city of plastic dreams with a distinct '90s dance-metal groove reminiscent of both Zombie and Marilyn Manson; “In My Chest Is a Grave” has the same pitch-black gothic mood, but with a pensive delivery that borders on balladry (although that element won't fully surface until the final cut... more on that in a bit). The tone gets even darker for “Kids in America,” which keeps the band's anthemic core but dials up the creepy, complete with burning mid-range riffs and a blend of sleazy and frantic vocals.
“One More Night” relieves some of that darkness with a brighter, more hopeful theme and matches it with pop-oriented vocals – a little too bright, maybe, as it feels overshadowed by the muscular sound of its fellow tracks. But I didn't sweat that one, because Davey proudly shoots the middle-finger salute again with “Grab a Gun & Hide Your Morals,” which this time comes with the comic intro “Professor Asshole,” poking fun at the band's pompous detractors. Another spoken intro, “Fallacies,” plays it serious with the motto “Dreaming keeps us alive,” before laying down the heavy dance-metal “God Head Killers,” which threatens to outdo Rob Zombie at his own game. The acoustic guitar & piano-backed “I’ll Take a Bullet For You” is the ballad I hinted at earlier, and Davey's '80s arena-rock influence is most evident here; it's also a good showcase for his melodic power.
My earlier concern that Davey and the band would burn up their fuel too quickly with so many roof-raising anthems (the EP was nothing but those, after all) was put to rest when I finally heard the full range of his songwriting abilities; I'd always suspected there would be more colors to the band's palette waiting to be heard, and I'm happy to say I was right on the money. While '90s-style industrial metal and gritty '80s glam-rock are tricky genres to reconcile with one another (many have tried and failed), there's a through-line that holds this frantic album together: that thread is Davey himself, whose emotional purity brings its frenzied energy into focus.
Davey and the band are currently on tour with Orgy and Vampires Everywhere! for the "Wide Awake and Dead Tour,” which continues through April 14th. You can check out the full list of dates & venues here... but first, check out the vid for "Grab a Gun" below!